House of Commons Hansard #109 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tobacco.

Topics

Food and Drugs Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Luc Malo Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, first of all I would like to thank my colleague from West Nova who noted my new haircut and also that it was not a moment of madness that led me to shave off all my locks, but a heartfelt gesture in support of children suffering from cancer. Together with 7,300 other participants who shaved their heads, we managed to raise $3,800,000, which will give hope to these children.

With regard to his question on natural health products, at present, there is a great deal of confusion. People are wondering whether the new regulations will contradict the Natural Health Products Regulations. It will be very important for the minister to be clear about this when the bill is studied in more detail in committee. We must allow Canadians to address the committee and we must work together to shed light on the matter and to ensure that all legislation is respected and that people are safely able to use the products they currently turn to.

Food and Drugs Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments made by the member and also congratulate him on his support for children with cancer.

He went through many of the problems with the bill and mentioned many of the reasons why I, personally, do not support the legislation and why the NDP caucus is not supporting it either.

I want to raise particularly the question about natural health products and Chinese traditional medicine, which is very important to people in my riding. It is a long and distinguished tradition, maybe even longer than western medicine, yet it seems to be compromised by this legislation.

I wonder if the hon. member could comment as well on that issue and the fact that even the Conservatives now seem to realize that there are very serious flaws with this legislation, necessitating amendments at this particular stage in the process.

Food and Drugs Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

I must inform the hon. member for Verchères—Les Patriotes that he has 30 seconds to comment.

Food and Drugs Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Luc Malo Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will try to wrap it up in under 30 seconds. I already touched on this subject in answer to the question from the hon. member for West Nova.

The hon. member for Burnaby—Douglas is quite right. We must ensure that natural health products are governed by a code, a law, but we must also ensure that the bill before us does not interfere with the law in place and that all citizens will be able to use those products that—

Food and Drugs Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

The hon. member for Burnaby—Douglas.

Food and Drugs Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have this opportunity to at least begin to address the issue of Bill C-51, An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act.

There are very important issues raised in this legislation. It is not the first time a government in Canada in recent years has tried to change this legislation. In fact, this is about the fifth time in recent years and there has never been great success in overhauling this legislation.

It appears that the current government is facing the same kinds of problems. We now hear that even the Conservatives are proposing major amendments to their own legislation given the public outcry about it.

There are many serious problems with this legislation, things like the provision for direct to consumer advertising of pharmaceuticals. We have seen that this bill may open that door. We also know the American experience that many of us have some exposure to. We are concerned that that might increase costs to consumers. How will this affect the appropriate proscribing of drugs in Canada and how will it really contribute to the skyrocketing cost of drugs in Canada in our medical system?

There is also concern about progressive licensing and changes to the drug approval process. We have seen this aspect of our drug safety measures chipped away at over the years. In fact, the disappearance almost 10 years ago of the only drug lab that did the necessary kinds of testing, and post-market testing and surveillance is important to any drug and therapeutic product regime. That is another problem.

While we are concerned in this corner that the changes in this legislation may open the door to the kind of harmonization that is taking place under the security and prosperity partnership agenda, we are also concerned that there is too much ministerial discretion and too much regulatory discretion provided for in this legislation. We do not see that as appropriate either.

Like most members, I have heard from many--

Food and Drugs Act
Government Orders

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

Order. I regret that I must interrupt the hon. member for Burnaby—Douglas. When we return to the study of Bill C-51, there will be eight minutes left.

We will now have statements by members under Standing Order 31. The hon. member for Lethbridge has the floor.

Canadian Forces
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Casson Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, June 2 marked 11 years since the election of myself and the rest of the class of '97. Reflecting on those years, I realize how fortunate I have been to represent the great people of southern Alberta and the tremendous opportunities I have had while performing those duties.

None of these opportunities can compare to have been able to associate with our men and women serving in the Canadian Forces. Two weeks ago, as chair of the Standing Committee on National Defence, I and ten of my colleagues had the opportunity to visit Afghanistan for the second time.

It was truly an inspiration to witness the courage and dedication of our men and women as they carry out the mission that has been assigned to them. I witnessed the focused determination of personnel, both civilian and military, as they continue to do what needs to be done in a country ravaged by war. The progress they have made in the 16 months since our last visit is remarkable.

Though it will take time to sort out the complex problems that still exist in Afghanistan, those proudly wearing the maple leaf on their shoulders and carrying it in their hearts continue to be leaders in rebuilding Afghanistan.

Portuguese Canadians
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Mario Silva Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, today, June 10, is Portugal Day, a day we celebrate the great poet, Luis Vaz de Camoes, and also when we honour the contributions made by Portuguese Canadians in Canada and a relationship that dates back centuries.

Among the notables in this history are Gasper Corte Real, who in the 15th century discovered Conception Bay, or Pedro da Silva, who in 1705 was commissioned as the “first courier” in New France.

We also honour those on Canada's west coast like Portuguese pioneer, Jose Silva, also known as Joe Silvey, who braved enormous challenges in the late 1800s to become the first British Canadian citizen of Portuguese origin, and the first known European to marry an aboriginal. He also introduced net fishing along the west coast and opened Vancouver's first bistro known as “The Hole in the Wall”.

In 2003 Portuguese Canadians celebrated the 50th anniversary of official immigration to Canada when vibrant neighbourhoods developed in places like Portugal Village in Toronto.

Today, we recognize people like Bill Moniz, who works tirelessly to document Portuguese history in Canada or groups like ACAPO, who organize Portugal Day parades in Toronto each year that draw over 300,000 people.

As the first Portuguese Canadian member of Parliament, it is my honour to ask that all members of the House join with me in honouring Luis Vaz de Camoes and in celebrating Portugal Day.

Income Tax Act
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, this Thursday, members of the House of Commons will have an opportunity to vote on Bill C-207 at report stage from the Standing Committee on Finance. I introduced this bill in 2006.

Since then, a number of individuals and organizations have expressed their approval for a tax credit for new graduates working in designated regions. Some 60 municipalities, RCMs, youth forums, educational institutions, youth employment centres and chambers of commerce have decided to support Bill C-207.

New graduates working in Haute-Mauricie, Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Abitibi-Témiscamingue, the upper Laurentians, the North Shore, Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean and northern Quebec would be entitled to a maximum tax credit of $8,000.

We need measures to stop youth out-migration and promote the retention of skilled workers in economically depressed regions. Bill C-207 meets that need.

Phone Companies
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are owed hundreds of millions of dollars by land line phone companies as a result of overcharges and the money has been placed in so-called deferral accounts. But Canadians have yet to have their money refunded due to the actions of the former monopoly Bell Canada.

The CRTC has ordered that the funds be returned to those who it rightfully belongs, namely, consumers. Instead, the phone companies took the CRTC to court and lost. But instead of complying with the Federal Appeals Court decision, Bell Canada, in an attempt to fleece its own customers, has decided to appeal to the Supreme Court delaying the rebate for possibly two years.

What is truly outrageous is that Bell Canada is claiming in its appeal that the deferral accounts do not exist and the CRTC does not have the power to order the refund.

A monumental hijacking of Canadian consumers must be put to an end. Bell Canada should withdraw its appeal to the Supreme Court immediately and issue the refunds to its customers now. What have the Conservatives done during this time? They have cut Bell's corporate taxes and rewarded it. Shame.

Myra Canyon
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Cannan Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, in September 2003 the Okanagan Mountain Park wildfires entered the Myra Canyon and destroyed 12 wooden trestles and damaged two steel trestles on the historic Kettle Valley Railway, part of the Trans-Canada Trail.

It gives me great pleasure to inform the House that, as a result of the cooperation of all levels of government and the help of many fine citizens, the trestles over Myra Canyon have risen from the ashes and have been rebuilt to historical specifications using British Columbia wood and labour.

On June 22, the Myra Canyon trestles will officially open to the public who will once again have a chance to step back in time and view the valley from a truly historic vantage point.

I would like to take this opportunity to invite all Canadians to come to the Okanagan this summer, visit our orchards and vineyards, travel over Canada's only floating bridge, the new William R. Bennett Bridge, but most of all, walk or cycle the trestles and breath in the history of this memorable Canadian heritage site located right above Kelowna, British Columbia.

Immigration
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, until yesterday, the government said that it needed Bill C-50 to secure skilled workers for our country.

Will it now start by addressing the issue of undocumented workers? They number over 200,000, many of them Portuguese. They possess proven and needed skills. Most of them have been here for more than three years. They are already integrated, the certification of their credentials already verified by their employers. An architecture for providing them with permanent residency was already put in place by the previous government, along with the money to get it done.

The current government has squandered two and a half years of opportunity, doing nothing. Meanwhile workers, crucial to our economic development, are prevented from making a contribution and getting on with their lives. They languish in uncertainty.

The government has the money and now it has the legislative authority. Does it have the political will to do the right thing and land these undocumented workers now?

The Environment
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday Canadians had another opportunity to peer behind the weasel words and political trickery being used by the Liberals to conceal their planned permanent new carbon tax.

Appearing on national television, two senior Liberal MPs could not even keep their stories straight over the course of a single half hour. At 5:02 p.m. the member for Halton, the Liberal leader's senior communications adviser, called the secret plan a carbon tax and confessed to the fact that the plan was a tax after all.

Less than 20 minutes later, the member for Richmond Hill anxiously performed damage control, saying “there is no carbon tax” at all.

Tax, no tax, a kind of tax, a hidden tax, tax shifts, carbon tax, green shifts, every day there is a different label, a different excuse, a different trick.

When Canadians hear politicians weaseling about the wording of a tax, they better hold on to their wallets. The Liberal leader is hoping to pull the wool over the eyes of Canadians, but they will not be tricked.

Michelle Bachelet
Statements By Members

June 10th, 2008 / 2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to highlight the visit of Michelle Bachelet, the Chilean president, to Quebec City. It is a huge honour for all Quebeckers to host the first woman to be elected a president in Latin America.

She is also the first head of state of a foreign country to visit Quebec as part of the 400th anniversary celebrations of Quebec City, the birthplace of the Quebec nation.

During her visit, she will meet with the Premier of Quebec and the Speaker of the National Assembly, before giving a speech in the Legislative Council Chamber. She will also unveil a commemorative text at the equestrian statue of Bernardo O'Higgins in the Parc de l'Amérique-Latine.

On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to Ms. Bachelet. I hope she enjoys her time in Quebec.